The two Cuban-American senators on tonight’s Republican debate stage clashed on immigration – each suggesting the other was for amnesty – while also reminding the audience they both spoke Spanish.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for going on Univision and telling its Spanish-speaking audience that he wouldn’t get rid of President Obama’s executive action on immigration on day No. 1 of a Rubio administration.
‘Well, first of all, I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision since he doesn’t speak Spanish,’ Rubio blasted.
Cruz replied by yelling Spanish words loudly into his microphone to prove that he did have some mastery of the language in one of the debate’s many contentious moments between the six remaining GOP presidential candidates one week before South Carolina voters will head to the polls.
Ted Cruz (left) and Marco Rubio (right) got into it at tonight’s debate in Greenville, South Carolina over the issue of immigration
Marco Rubio (right) suggested that Ted Cruz wouldn’t know what the Florida senator said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish prompting Cruz to speak Spanish
Cruz, who won the Iowa caucuses, has tried for months to make immigration an issue that could take down Rubio, who was rising after his third place finish in Iowa, right on the heels of second-place finisher Donald Trump, but sputtered in New Hampshire after a poor debate performance one week ago courtesy of the loudmouthed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Christie had ridiculed Rubio for using rehearsed talking points.
With Christie gone, Rubio regained a bit of his footing, taking on Cruz after the Texan labeled the Senate’s 2013 attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform the ‘Rubio-Schumer amnesty plan.’
At the time Cruz had offered an amendment to the bill that would have stripped out a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the country, but left legal status language intact.
Cruz has said this was a ‘poison pill’ to kill the bill, of which Rubio was a sponsor, while Rubio suggests it was proof that Cruz supported giving illegal immigrants a legal status.
‘When that issue was being debated, Ted Cruz had a committee hearing and very passionately said, “I want immigration reform to pass, I want people to be able to come out of the shadows” and he proposed an amendment that would have legalized the people here,’ Rubio said. ‘Not only that, he proposed doubling the number of green cards, he proposed a 500 percent increase on guest workers.’
Yep, that was Spanish: Ted Cruz started speaking in his father’s native tongue, after Marco Rubio questioned the Texan’s ability to speak Spanish
‘Now his position is different, now he is a passionate opponent of all of those things,’ Rubio continued.
‘So he either wasn’t telling the truth then or he wasn’t telling the truth now, but to argue that he is a purist on immigration is just not so,’ the Florida senator added.
Cruz stood his ground saying that Rubio supported citizenship for all 12 million people living in the United States illegally.
‘Marco has a long record when it comes to amnesty, in the state of Florida, as speaker of the house he supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants,’ Cruz said.
‘In addition to that, Marco went on Univision in Spanish and said he would not rescind President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office.’
And as Cruz spouted in Spanish, after Rubio suggested the Texas senator didn’t have a handle on his Cuban father’s native tongue, Rubio went back to another favorite attack.
‘This is a disturbing pattern now because for a number of weeks now Ted Cruz has just been telling lies,’ Rubio said. ‘He lied about Ben Carson in Iowa … he lied about marriage, he’s lying about all sorts of things and now he makes things up.’
‘That is absolutely false,’ Cruz, switching to English, yelled back.